Iron-age 14C dates from Tel Dan: A high chronology

Hendrik J. Bruins, Johannes Van Der Plicht, David Ilan, Ella Werker

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    10 Scopus citations


    Organic samples have been collected from Tel Dan to establish an independent radiocarbon chronology of the site. In this paper we present and discuss 20 Iron-Age radiocarbon dates. Unfortunately, short-lived charred seeds were generally not excavated and charcoal formed the dominant sample material. However, two charred samples of olive pits, derived from Stratum V (Iron I) and IVA (Iron IIA), support the remarkably consistent charcoal dates, which are, of course, somewhat older. Another short-lived sample, consisting of charred seeds of Vicia faba and Pisum sativum, originally attributed to Stratum V, appeared to come from a Stratum III or II pit cut into Stratum V. The study underlines the importance of independent chronological measurements; the original stratigraphic assignment was sometimes adjusted on the basis of the radiocarbon results. Most radiocarbon dates are from Stratum V, which has been dated archaeologically by A. Biran and D. Ilan to ca. 1150-1050 BCE based on material culture analogy. The radiocarbon measurements of Stratum V (13th-11th centuries BCE on charred olive pits) confirm the above archaeological dating, but also allow for an even higher date. The14C results are undeniably older than the 10th-century BCE date suggested by Finkelstein, who associated Dan Stratum V with Megiddo VIA in his low chronology theory. The radiocarbon date on charred olive pits from Stratum IVA yielded a calibrated age in the 11th-10th centuries BCE. Our dates clearly support a high chronology. But more short-lived dates from new excavations are required to enlarge the database and refine the present results.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Bible and Radiocarbon Dating
    Subtitle of host publicationArchaeology, Text and Science
    PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9781845534981
    ISBN (Print)9781845530570
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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